How To Bet £20 ante-post on the Racing Post Gold Cup Chase

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Wed 8 Dec 2021

Andy Stephens advised Dans Le Vent (25-1) and Cloudy Glen (40-1) in recent columns and likes the look of contenders chalked up at 33-1 and 20-1 for the big handicap on Saturday.

The ante-post betting for the Racing Post Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday is dominated by horses who ran in last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup.

It’s certainly a good place to start when trying to identify this weekend’s winner, with eight of the past 14 victors contesting the Paddy Power beforehand.

Midnight Shadow, the winner, is on course to try and complete a golden double last achieved by Exotic Dancer in 2005, while Lalor (third), Dostal Phil (fourth), Zanza (sixth), Deyrann De Carjac (eleventh) and Coole Cody, who fell two out when disputing the lead, are also set to return to Prestbury Park.

Only nine lengths covered the first 11 home four weeks ago and, at the revised weights, there should be even less between those who meet again.

But this is a different day, on a more demanding track (the New Course, rather than the Old one) with softer going also likely if the heavy downpours forecast to hit the track on Tuesday materialise. There is an extra fence to negotiate - 17 as opposed to 16 - and more galloping to be done.

To emphasise the point, Midnight Shadow won the Paddy Power in a time just under 5 minutes last month, on ground that was officially good to soft, whereas the fastest time recorded by a Racing Post Gold Cup winner in the past decade has been the 5min 10 sec achieved by Quantitativeeasing on good ground in 2011. Two years ago, on soft ground, Warthog won in a time of 5min 34sec.

Watch a full replay of the Paddy Power Gold Cup

Lalor and Dostal Phil were closing on Midnight Shadow at the finish of the Paddy Power but the line came too soon for them.

Bookmakers have put two and two together – the stiffer test and pull in the weights – and make that pair a shorter price than their conqueror. But it’s not that straightforward because Midnight Shadow was involved in the heat of battle much earlier and was effectively left with nothing to race with after Coole Cody’s exit, plus his error at the final fence cost him ground and momentum. He would have been an unlucky loser had he been overhauled.

Midnight Shadow is up 7lb, but Exotic Dancer defied a 10lb higher mark when achieving the double. He should make a bold bid to go one better than last year, when he beat all bar Chatham Street Lad but my bets are going to be on Kauto Riko, who is available at 33-1, and Siruh Du Lac, who is available at 20-1.

Kauto Riko has been absent eight months since failing to fire over the Grand National fences and his overall profile is patchy. However, his record when fresh demands a close look and, on what will be his first start for eight months, I’ve got to be with the Tom Gretton-trained ten-year-old.

His record first time out in the past seasons, each time after a break of at least seven months, reads 11P24 but that does not tell the whole story. He was pulled up after blundering at the first on his comeback in 2018 so his next run, at Haydock – when he obliged at 20-1 - was effectively his reappearance.

The following campaign he made his return in the Grade Two Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon, with odds of 100-1 reflecting that he was officially rated between 9lb and 25lb inferior to his five rivals. But he ran a screamer to be beaten just three quarters of a length by Top Notch, who he’d have met on a stone better terms had the race been a handicap.

Kauto Riko caught the eye in last year's Paddy Power Gold Cup

And then, last year, he made his reappearance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and belied odds of 50-1 by finishing a staying-on fourth to Coole Cody. He was beaten just over five lengths despite, wait for it, looking in need of a stiffer test.

Coole Cody was making a bold defence of his crown last month when departing and rates a solid yardstick. Kauto Riko is 10lb better off with him and looks the stronger stayer of the pair, putting him firmly in the mix in terms of weights and measures.

The last 10-year-old to win the race was back in 1974, which is a nuisance when trying to line up all the ducks in a row, but Kauto Riko is low mileage for a horse of his age, having had only 22 races under Rules. In any case, you can rarely have everything when backing a 33-1 chance.

Alnadam, who didn’t get home in the Ultima in March; Cepage, twice placed in this race in the past; and Farinet, unexposed and at the right end of the weights, were also on my radar, but my other bet is going to be the front-running Siruh Du Lac.

His form figures over fences since winning at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019 read PFU (all at Cheltenham) and he didn’t beat a rival home when running in a 3m hurdle back here in October.

That’s the bad news, but the good news is that his form figures mask the fact that he’s generally a superb jumper and that all seemed far from lost when he made his return seven weeks ago as he moved with zest until running out of puff over a trip that is probably beyond him. I imagine the purpose of that run was to restore any lost confidence and to knock off a bit of rust.

Siruh Du Lac is still only 8 and is just 2lb higher than when winning at the Festival. He looked like going close at the meeting 12 months later, too, only to capsize two out when in the lead.

The Pipe team have had to be patient since taking over care of him, but they still have time on their side. A market move over the days ahead would also be significant.

How To Bet £20 ante-post on the Racing Post Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham

£6 win and £4 each-way on Kauto Riko at a general 33-1 (four places)

£2 win and £2 each-way on Siruh Du Lac at a general 20-1 (four places)

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